Disneysea, Tokyo, Japan
It’s been said that Disneysea is what you get when you give the Imagineers an open cheque-book , so we couldn’t wait to check it out when we recently visited Tokyo.
DisneySea consists of seven themed areas: Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront. The park loosely follows the spoke and wheel pattern, popular at many of the other parks, with the hub in this instance being a 100 foot volcano.
Turning left as you enter the park you enter Mediterranean Harbor, the first part having a Portofino Bay feel, the second part is distinctly Venice. How Venice? Well, Venice enough to fool a Venetian (we tweeted a photo whilst we were there and did just that!)
The detailing is extraordinary. Forget what you’ve seen at the other Disney Parks, this really is another level. The canal walls have water marks and moss on them, there are imperfections and erosion on the brickwork, and the buildings are individually detailed and convincingly aged. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s perfect, you truly are transported to Venice.
And this exceptional detailing continues throughout the park. Continuing clockwise the next “land” is American Waterfront where the SS Columbia resides, an exquisite replica of a steam liner, well I say replica, I’m still not 100% sure, even after boarding it and wandering around tapping on the surfaces I can’t say if it’s a real liner or not!
And so, it continues. The park is a visual marvel. A masterpiece. The piece de resistance of theme parks.
Or is it?
Isn’t there more to consider here than aesthetics?
What about the attractions?
When the rope dropped we headed straight for Mysterious Island, and jumped on one of the subterranean vehicles at the parks No.1 attraction “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. As the vehicle trundled through unimpressive tunnels adorned with glow-sticks, our enthusiasm started to dip, and then the finale, a short drop at a relatively mild speed and it was over….
Unfortunately this was not a one-off. It was very much a taste of things to come. I get the distinct impression the Imagineers put so much effort into the detailing of the park, that they were all burnt out when it came to the rides. It’s the first park I’ve ever been to where the queueing area is better than the attraction it precedes!
And what have you done to Tower of Terror?!
The Disney classic has been reimagined, without the Twilight Zone theme, and when I say reimagined, I actually mean ruined.
It really is a shame. I can’t over emphasise how special the park is visually, but the attractions are unforgivably poor, beautiful but entirely uninteresting.
And there’s one other thing.
I thought this was a Disney Park!
Where’s Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, and what’s this Duffy bear meant to be??
Everywhere you look, Duffy this, Duffy that, Duffy Cupcakes, Duffy T-shirts, Duffy backpacks. What the hell is a Duffy?
So, is Disneysea the best Disney theme-park in the world?
The attention to detail is unsurpassed, and it’s a beautiful park to walk around, and enjoy the sublime detailing. But the rides are hugely disappointing, and it just doesn’t feel magical. Maybe that’s the bears fault, or maybe it’s something else, but Disney without magic, is just not Disney.
For us the best 3 Disney Parks are all still in Florida.
What do you think? Which is your favourite Disney park & why? Leave a comment below.